Brussels Voice is a new democratic space for International Brusselers implemented by commissioner.brussels. We want to give this vital community the opportunity to have their say on the regional policies that affect their daily lives. The first cycle developed the Manifesto of the International Brusseler and its 22 policy proposals. We’re now launching a second cycle in partnership with the Brussels Parliament. Across both cycles we prioritise innovation and rigour for democratic participation.
1 in 3 residents of Brussels is not a Belgian national. These International Brusselers are currently unable to vote in regional elections to select the Parliament and Government of the Brussels-Capital Region. However, they build lives, careers and homes in Brussels…and they are a vital part of our economy and cultural life.
This democratic deficit is unfair for International Brusselers who want to speak up and share their ideas. It also means that regional policy is made without considering the opinions and concerns of a huge segment of the population. Participation platforms like Brussels Voice can allow International Brusselers to raise their voice, say what matters to them and share their proposals for the Region.
Brussels Voice is managed by commissioner.brussels, but the real leaders are the International Brusselers who participate.
The first cycle was underpinned by the project Live here. Speak hear. Participation was open to all residents of Brussels with non-Belgian citizenship, including dual nationals. Around 1500 people took part across the various phases. The regional Government gives commissioner.brussels a particular mission to facilitate relationships between regional authorities and people who live in Brussels because they work in the international sector. Outreach and promotion therefore mainly targeted this group. Nevertheless, the data collected about participants show a real diversity in terms of gender, age, employment situation and nationality, with a balanced participation of EU and non-EU citizens.
The second cycle, Brussels Voice 23, is a partnership between commissioner.brussels and the Brussels Parliament. This cycle specifically targets non-Belgians, and we are aiming to reach a more diverse cross-section of the international communities of the Region.
The ideas and recommendations which International Brusselers develop offer a fascinating snapshot of this community’s relationship with the Region. They will be of interest to regional policymakers, International Brusselers who want to see how their community is expressing itself, and anyone interested in democratic participation or the future of Brussels.
BRUSSELS VOICE 23
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